People have lost their sense of security, status and even identity. Trumps victory is the scream of an America desperate for radical change
They will blame James Comey and the FBI. They will blame voter suppression and racism. They will blame Bernie or bust and misogyny. They will blame third parties and independent nominees. They will blame the corporate media for dedicating him the platform, social media for being a bullhorn, and WikiLeaks for airing the laundry.
But this leaves out the force most responsible for creating the nightmare in which we now find ourselves wide awake: neoliberalism. That worldview fully represented by Hillary Clinton and her machine is no match for Trump-style extremism. The decision to run one against the other is what sealed our fate. If we learn nothing else, can we please learn from that mistake?
Here is what we need to understand: a hell of a lot of people are in pain. Under neoliberal policies of deregulation, privatisation, austerity and corporate trade, their living criteria have declined precipitously. They have lost jobs. They have lost pensions. They have lost much of the safety net that used to make these losses less frightening. They ensure a future for their children even worse than their precarious present.
At the same time, they have witnessed the rise of the Davos class, a hyper-connected network of banking and tech billionaires, elected leaders who are awfully cosy with those interests, and Hollywood celebrities who construct the whole thing seem unbearably glamorous. Success is a party to which they were not invited, and they know in their hearts that this rising wealth and power is somehow directly connected to their grow debts and powerlessness.
For the people who saw security and status as their birthright and that means white humen most of all these losses are unbearable.
Donald Trump speaks directly to that ache. The Brexit campaign spoke to that ache. So do all of the rising far-right parties in Europe. They answer it with nostalgic nationalism and indignation at remote economic bureaucracies whether Washington, the North American free trade agreement the World Trade Organisation or the EU. And of course, they answer it by bashing migrants and people of colour, vilifying Muslims, and degrading females. Elite neoliberalism has nothing to offer that pain, because neoliberalism unleashed the Davos class. People such as Hillary and Bill Clinton are the toast of the Davos party. In truth, they hurled the party.
Trumps message was: All is hell. Clinton answered: All is well. But its not well far from it.
Neo-fascist responses to rampant insecurity and inequality are not going to go away. But what we know from the 1930 s is that what it takes to do battle with fascism is a real left. A good chunk of Trumps support could be peeled away if there were a genuine redistributive agenda on the table. An agenda to take on the billionaire class with more than rhetoric, and use the money for a green new deal. Such a plan could create a tidal wave of well-paying unionised chores, bringing seriously needed resources and opportunities to communities of colour, and insist that polluters should pay for workers to be retrained and fully included in this future.
It could way public policies that fight institutionalised racism, economic inequality and climate change at the same time. It could take on bad trade bargains and police violence, and honour indigenous people as the original defenders of the land, water and air.
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